Baseball Legend Ichiro Now Coaching Next Generation of Japanese Players

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ichiro coaches baserunning at Chiben Wakayama High School in Wakayama on Friday.

WAKAYAMA — Baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki was back on the field recently, coaching players from high-school power-house Chiben Wakayama.

It was the first coaching session for amateur players for the 47-year-old former Seattle Mariners star since he retired as a player in March last year.

Ichiro, who also played for the New York Yankees and Orix Blue Wave (now Orix Buffaloes), spent three days through Friday with the high schoolers, giving them tips on getting a good jump while stealing a base. The baseball legend also demonstrated his trademark swing during a batting session.

“I felt like I was in some sort of dream,” said 18-year old Ryohei Hosokawa, who was drafted by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters this autumn.

Ichiro, who now serves as a special assistant and instructor for the Mariners, earned the qualification to coach high-school and university players in February. He is allowed to coach during the off-season.

Ichiro has a history with the school as he used to play baseball with the school’s faculty, which helped pave the way for the superstar to return as a coach for the next generation of players.